Some buildings will absolutely fascinate you with their stunning designs, genius architectural decisions, and the sheer power of their aesthetics. This article isn’t about these kinds of buildings, however. Nope! Not all buildings are made equal, you see, and the ‘bad’ ones need to be shamed publicly so that others don’t copy their designs. So we’ll be focusing exclusively on just plain terrible architectural decisions.
And the worst of the worst end up on the ‘That’s It, I’m Architecture Shaming’ Facebook group where users mercilessly prod and poke bad design. It’s fun, it’s educational, it’s something cool to scroll through during your next coffee break.
Remember to upvote your fave photos that you love to hate and be sure to follow the architecture-shaming Facebook group if you like their stuff. They’re a growing community with awesome content.
Bored Panda spoke about what separates good and bad design, the need to democratize the access to quirky private property designs, as well as about the roles that architecture plays with an expert in the field from Sweden who has a background in urban planning. You’ll find our full interview with her below.
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The Sweden-based urban planning expert explained to Bored Panda that while public spaces must meet safety and accessibility standards, aesthetic standards can be much more fluid for buildings. The expert spoke to Bored Panda on the condition that she remain anonymous. (Remember, just because you're an expert in something and want to be helpful doesn't mean that you always like the limelight... unlike quirky architecture which just begs you to look at it!)
“Most of the time, the elements of the built environment should be in harmony amidst each other and with the surroundings. However, sometimes, something bolder and out-of-the-box might form an engaging contrast,” she said. However, the urban planning expert shared with Bored Panda that, in her personal opinion, our built environments have to engage us, as well as stimulate our minds and senses. In fact, she believes that architecture’s ability to make us think is one of its most powerful aspects.
“There are circumstances where the architecture should create a sense of calmness and safety, yet there are instances in which it is not bad if the architecture provokes us and makes us think, ‘Why don't I like the look of this building?’”
The urban planner said that we should give people the freedom to express themselves as they wish when it comes to designing their private property. As long as they have the means, nearly everything is allowed, in her opinion.
Opera And Ballet Theatre Of Cheboksary (Russia)
Top: original picture
Bottom: slightly photoshopped picture
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“Quirky architecture comes from our innate desire to demonstrate our uniqueness. However, not everyone who has the means has an average taste for aesthetics. Yet, as long as it is for the people who inhabit or use their private space, I mean why not?” she told Bored Panda that as long as you’re not actively harming anyone else with how bad your designs are, you should be able to be as unique as you want. Even if it falls short of objective aesthetic standards.
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However, the expert acknowledged that others in the industry might not see things the way that she does. Others, she said, believe that private property must be in harmony with the surroundings.
“But, I think that we should not cross that thin line where architecture becomes reserved for only the wealthy and for those with ‘good taste’ (whoever decides that). I’m only talking about private property here, though. When it comes to public space, there should be a consensus between the public and the professional about the design,” she said that the rules for the private and public spheres are very different.
The urban planning expert also had some advice when it comes to design. “Firstly, even though I often advocate for unconventionally looking buildings, I do not encourage purposefully provocative architecture. The building should be designed with the intention to accommodate and protect society. It should create a sense of safety but not be boring,” she told Bored Panda that we ought to strike a balance between uniqueness and service, expression and community.
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What’s more, the expert from Sweden pointed out that accessibility, inclusiveness, and empowerment should also be key features of any architectural project. “Also, I prefer somewhat complex but systemic designs. Minimalistic and box like floor plans are good in some cases where easy access is necessary (for example, hospitals) yet they can be completely mind-numbing while more complex floor plan designs are more mind-stimulating (for example, good for schools, in my opinion).”